Above the Arctic Circle, Tromsø is famous for its Northern Lights and stunning natural scenery. The city also hosts The Tromso Christmas Market, attracting locals and tourists from Norway and abroad.
In this article, you’ll find the 2023 dates, opening hours and what makes this destination unique.
Tromsø’s Polar Night provides a unique backdrop for Christmas festivities, as the sun doesn’t rise for about two months.
If the conditions are right, you’ll have the chance to experience the Northern Lights, which are especially visible during this time.
Tromsø Christmas Market 2023
Tromsø Christmas Market is a popular winter holiday choice in Norway for various experiences. It’s not just the market stalls that grab attention; the city’s natural backdrop also does.
See the lights from the Fjellheisen cable car for the best vantage point.
You can participate in unique activities nearby, such as dog or reindeer sledding and whale watching.
The surrounding snow-covered mountains add to the overall experience, making the market in Tromsø distinct from others.
These events, activities and decorations make Tromso Norway’s best Christmas Town.
Dates and Location
Tromsø Christmas Market dates: Likely dates: 18th November to 22nd December 2023.
Opening times: 12pm to 6pm.
Christmas Day: Closed.
Christmas lights: No switch on date.
Ice skating: Not at the Christmas markets, but at Prestvannet Lake.
Vegetarian: Yes, plenty of options.
Vegan: Yes, plenty of options.
Gluten free: Yes, but limited.
Pet-friendly: Yes, but not recommended during busy periods.
Parking: Please take public transport to help limit congestion.
Reason to visit: Arctic setting and the Northern Lights.
Recommended tour: Personalised city tour.
Food specialities: Lutefisk (dried cod), ribbe (pork belly), locally brewed beer at Tromsø Mikrobryggeri.
Where to stay: Thon Hotel Polar is a central hotel, 8 minutes from Stortorget.
Hotels near Tromsø Christmas Market
Staying in the city centre puts you within easy reach of the Christmas market in Stortorget. This location is convenient for sights, places to eat out and local tours.
As for where to stay, Thon Hotel Polar is well-rated and reasonably priced.
Location of the Market
Recommended Walking Tours
A trip to Tromsø allows you to explore natural wonders and festive market traditions. The city is encircled by snowy mountains, adding an extra layer of beauty to the Christmas season. You might even catch the northern lights, an extraordinary sight.
I recommend the Tromsø personalised city tour if you’re new to the city. This tour takes you through the main sites and introduces you to Tromsø’s cultural and historical background.
If, like many visitors, you’re in Tromsø to see the Aurora Borealis, this Northern Lights tour will be one of your best chances to see them.
I recommend checking out my Norway Christmas Markets 2023 guide to get information on the country’s markets worth visiting.
Christmas in Tromsø
Rakfisk: This Norwegian dish comprises semi-fermented fish. It’s a Tromsø market speciality that you might not find everywhere. A strong-flavoured delicacy, rakfisk is best enjoyed with flatbread and onions.
Klippfisk: Salted and dried cod is what makes klippfisk. Rehydrated and often served in casseroles, it’s a mainstay in Tromsø. You’ll usually find it with potato, onion and other root vegetables.
Lutefisk: Made from dried whitefish, lutefisk undergoes a treatment process involving lye. The fish is then reconstituted in water and is typically enjoyed with boiled potatoes and mushy peas. Its unique texture and intense flavour make it stand out.
Pinnekjøtt: Lamb ribs cured in brine or sea salt form the base of pinnekjøtt. The meat gets a steam treatment over birch sticks and is commonly served during Christmas. It pairs well with potatoes and rutabaga mash.
Multekrem: A dessert made of cloudberries and whipped cream. It’s a sweet, tart dish that concludes many a festive meal in Tromsø. The cloudberries are often picked in late summer and preserved for winter.
Riskrem: A traditional Norwegian rice pudding mixed with whipped cream. A single almond is hidden in the mixture, and finding it is considered good luck. Simple yet hearty, it’s a popular choice for dessert.
Gløgg: This is the Norwegian version of mulled wine. While alcohol-free versions are available, the original contains red wine, spices, and sometimes a dash of more potent spirits. It’s a warming drink, often enjoyed with raisins and almonds.
Juleøl: Specifically brewed for the Christmas season, Juleøl is a beer with a more prosperous, maltier taste than regular Norwegian beers. You’ll find various versions, from lighter ales to heavier, more robust stouts.
Pølse med Lompe: A sausage wrapped in a soft flatbread, this snack is easy to eat while you walk around the market. While not exclusively a Christmas speciality, its convenience and satisfying taste make it a common sight.
Varm Kakao: Hot chocolate often sees a spike in popularity during the Christmas markets. Sometimes, you’ll find variations spiced with cinnamon or a dash of whipped cream on top, ideal for sipping in the cold weather.
Gifts and Stocking Fillers
Nordic Souvenirs: Tromsø is one of the best places in the world to witness the Northern Lights. As such, you’ll find various Nordic souvenirs, from postcards to small pieces of artwork that capture the phenomenon.
Sami Handicrafts (Duodji): The indigenous Sami people are skilled in crafting items from natural materials. Look for intricate knife handles, carved wooden bowls, and reindeer-antler jewellery. These crafts directly connect to the Arctic lifestyle and those who have lived here for generations.
Norwegian Wool: Norwegian wool products like jumpers and mittens are designed to handle Arctic temperatures. You’ll often find traditional Norwegian patterns in these items, making them functional yet culturally significant gifts. Norway is a great place to grab a fun Christmas jumper.
Tromsø Beer: Tromsø has a local brewery, and its beers often feature unique Arctic ingredients. A pack of bottled craft beer from Tromsø can be a good choice for those who appreciate distinctive, locally brewed drinks.
Tromsø Maps: Given the city’s complex geography and the attraction of nearby hiking trails, topographical maps of the area make for a practical gift. These maps can be a valuable tool for explorers or a neat remembrance for those who love cartography.
Cloudberry Products: Jams, syrups, or even cloudberry liqueur made from this Arctic berry can be found in the market. Rich in vitamin C, cloudberries are a local staple and their by-products are often used in Norwegian cooking.
Lingonberry Syrup: Often used in Norwegian cuisine, this syrup is a popular way to consume the antioxidant-rich lingonberries. A bottle of lingonberry syrup can make a versatile and health-conscious gift.
Troll Figurines: Trolls are a significant part of Scandinavian folklore. You’ll find troll figurines made of various materials, each having its style and character. They range from the cute to the scary, catering to different tastes.
Arctic Circle Certificates: Some stalls offer certificates proving you’ve crossed the Arctic Circle. These usually come with your name and the specific coordinates, making for a unique and personalised souvenir.
Local Cookbooks: These focus on Arctic and Norwegian cuisine, offering different recipes that include local fish, game and berries. It’s an excellent way to bring the tastes of Tromsø back home.
Each item on this list is connected to Tromsø or the surrounding region, offering more than just a simple souvenir but a piece of local culture or tradition.
To stay updated on winter activities and the newest events in the city, check out Visit Tromsø, the city’s official website.
Sustainable Travel Tips
Here’s how you can travel more responsibly in Tromso this Christmas:
Eco-friendly Hotels: In Tromsø, some hotels operate solely on renewable energy. Choosing such hotels helps you minimise your carbon footprint. They often have waste reduction measures and may use locally sourced products, aligning with your sustainable travel goals.
Reducing Food Waste: While enjoying the food at the Christmas markets in Tromso, be mindful of portion sizes. Order smaller servings if available and share dishes to avoid wasting food. Some stalls might even give you a discount for using your reusable containers.
Ethical Consumption: When shopping at the markets, consider the long-term use of what you buy. Avoid impulse purchases and focus on items that are locally made. Supporting local artisans helps circulate money within the community and decreases your travel footprint.
Sustainable Diets: Norway has a wide range of locally sourced seafood. In Tromsø, you’ll find stalls selling sustainably caught fish. These options are not only fresher but also more eco-friendly.
By incorporating these practices, you make tourism in Tromsø more sustainable.
Comment below if you want to leave a review of Tromso Xmas Market or have any questions.
Recommendations are independently chosen based on personal travel experiences and extensive research. This post contains affiliate links to hotels and tours in Tromsø, Norway. This means I get a small commission from any bookings at no extra cost to you.